Up to a 100 of us braved the freezing cold outside Congress House on Tuesday to lobby the TUC General Council. We heard the real voice of workers on what’s needed to resist the ConDem austerity offensive. Our open mike saw shop stewards, branch reps, union NEC members, community campaigners and young fighters tell of the nightmare facing workers and their families. The scores of solidarity messages (see some at end of this bulletin) we received from union branches and activists helped keep us warm and we passed on our support to struggles such as the Doncaster Tesco drivers, the teachers at Connaught school and Frank Morris, fighting the blacklist on Crossrail.
Just before the start of the meeting, PCS President and TUC general council member Janice Godrich gave greetings to the lobby. She pledged to take the message of the need for the maximum co-ordinated strike action into the meeting. She told us that she would be informing the other unions that PCS will be balloting in the New Year for strike action on pay and to defend hard won terms & conditions and that she will be asking unions to join with them. The NUT NEC is meeting this Thursday. They and the NASUWT already have a live dispute. Gove has now told teachers that future pay rises will be performance-related. The NSSN calls on the teachers unions to meet up with the PCS and others to start to talk about joint action. With local government unions representing 1.6million workers putting in their pay claim, this can be the foundation for a public sector pay strike that can then appeal across all sectors for support. This can be the route to the maximum joint strike that can shake this government. NSSN VIDEO
We’ll leave the last word to Ronnie Draper the general secretary of the Bakers Union BFAWU who was one of the many who sent a message of support: –
“We remain committed to seeking ways of taking co-ordinated action against this destructive government. Unless the trade unions organise together for a general strike we will become marginalised as an effective campaigning power.
We have a duty to show leadership both to our membership and to a society that is becoming more and more oppressed the longer this right wing government stays in power. If we don’t ask the question we will never know the answer and we will never be forgiven. We call upon the TUC to look beyond just the feasibility of a general strike and to proffer a firm date unless we get a total halt to Tory austerity measures”
Knowsley UNISON Special General Meeting, Unite Central Manchester Health branch and Greenwich Council Unite members vote for 24 hour general strike.
York Trades Union Council unanimously agreed to affiliate to the NSSN. You can join as a TC, Branch or donate via a standing order. It’s all welcome and needed!
Unite TESCO drivers in Doncaster continue the indefinite action over another TUPE robbery! We are getting almost daily reports which we are posting on the website.
Please send messages of support and donations to: Please send messages of support to Trevor Cheetham c/o [email protected] and donations to Dave Beck, 6 Wildene Drive, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, S64 9SN made out to “8-9/490 branch, TGWU, Tesco Contract Doncaster” (See also the USDAW activist for shop workers and disputes.)
West Midlands 2 Sisters workers to strike from Friday 14 December over pay and conditions. Action will be centered at Bevan Way and Dial Lane sites in Smethwick, West Bromwich and the Lincoln Street plant in Wolverhampton. [email protected]
Bromley Bin workers are set to strike up to Christmas and over the New Year. The union’s repeated calls to bosses at Veolia Environmental Services to re-instate four unjustly sacked workers for alleged gross misconduct have fallen on deaf ears, leaving Unite with no option but to issue strike dates. Strike action may begin with 24 hours on 14 December 2012, then 48 hours from 27 December and 24 hours from 31 December. However another offer is being discussed.
Supported housing Workers at One Housing are being told to sign up to new contracts by the 20th Dec, which will mean cuts of up to £8000. The new proposal is similar, with some concessions to one that One Housing tried to impose this earlier this year and the campaign pushed this back and won some better offers but this still means new workers will start on the lower rates from Jan and older workers will take the cuts in 2014. Unite members are now discussing how to challenge this. Contact [email protected]
Responses from reps Lewisham Association have unanimously opposed Gove’s attacks and overwhelmingly backed NEC member’s suggestion that the NUT National Executive should set a date or dates for national strike action next term, giving teachers a clear plan to build for in the New Year. “This is an unprecedented attack on teachers that will, if passed, be a charter for bullying heads”. More
LANAC Conference – building for action: 50 teachers from across the country met in Leicester today for a conference organised by the Local Associations National Action Campaign to build co-ordinated action. More
Connaught Girls School Walthamstow began a strike today and lobbied the school governing body from 6pm. Picket lines are up from 7.30am
Ministers will be told to improve living standards and end attacks on working conditions or face a fresh ballot for strikes by more than a quarter of a million civil and public servants following a decision by leaders of PCS More
Dept for Energy and Climate Change has withdrawn its notice of derecognition of the unions. “It was an error, apparently!”
The true cost of the West Coast franchising fiasco will be at least £100 million, and possibly much more, and warned that the pricethe price of the systemic failure of the rail privatisation policy, which runs right to the very top of Government, will be paid for in cuts to essential rail investment and increased passenger fares.
The £100 million cost to the British people – the price of sheer Government and Departmental incompetence – is made up from a £40 million taxpayers’ bail-out to the failed West Coast bidders, nearly £9 million paid out in investigating what went wrong with the tendering process and with the rest coming from a loss of projected Government revenues from the short-term Virgin fit-up and the costs associated with suspending the rest of the franchising timetable. RMT is demanding release of those numbers, which could take the full cost well beyond £100 million.
RMT slammed management bully-boy tactics on SERCO Northern Isles ferries services as staff prepare for the first phase of strike action in a fight over staffing cuts, actualization and the rail-roading of agreed procedures. Amongst a range of sanctions, SERCO have threatened to dump staff off the ships at distant locations in what is clearly a move designed to intimidate the workforce. SERCO have also threatened to run under-staffed and unsafe scab services in a risky and desperate attempt to break the action. RMT members have been instructed to withdraw their labour on the following services: Orkney – Scrabster, Shetland – Aberdeen, Aberdeen – Orkney – Shetland
Signallers in the Stirling area will be on strike again later this week in a long-running dispute over rosters as the union takes steps to broaden the campaign in light of the flagrant violation of existing rostering agreements by Network Rail.
RMT served notice to ballot train drivers on the Bakerloo and Central Lines for action short of strike action over London Underground’s detrainment procedures. more
RMT held a protest outside the Ugandan embassy in London over the governments plan to introduce a new law known as the ‘Kill the Gays Bill.’ If this bill were enacted, Uganda would be one of the legally most discriminatory places for sexual minorities in the world. More
Action for Rail – December 11, 2012 saw yet another Day of Action in the ongoing, joint union, campaign, Action for Rail. Today union activists were leafleting at stations nationwide to send a seasonal message to government that commuters and trade unionists will fight their attempts to introduce whopping fare increases whilst slashing jobs, services and investment. Video& report
The Communication Workers Union is launching a major campaign to highlight the threat to the UK’s universal postal service and jobs within the industry. Unfair competition is threatening the universal service
- Ofcom must step in to address unfair competition
- Competitors should match Royal Mail pay, but be forced to pay Living Wage as minimum
- CWU will arrange boycott of competitors’ mail if nothing is done
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “Today we’re launching a major initiative to protect postal services in the face of mounting threats to jobs and services. Under unfair competition we’ve seen prices rise, services diminish, closures and job losses. Competition and privatisation are old-fashioned theories, which have had their day. What’s important is decent services and jobs and that’s what we’re standing up for.”
A dispute with facilities and maintenance company Romec moved closer this week as CWU members began voting on industrial action. Staff are unhappy over pay arrangements, having been offered a rise of only 1.5% while managers have had a bonus worth 15% of salary. The ballot result is due next week.
Support TSSA members in London Transport Museum – the Museum is facing £1.5 m budget cuts from its TfL grant and staff are facing job loses in the New Year, and to ask MPs to sign Early Day Motion 713 see – More info from Fliss at [email protected]
Sign the petition to save Health and Safety rights – An eleventh hour amendment by the government to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill would see 114 year old rights on health and safety at work ripped up. The amendment includes taking away employers strict liability for the health and safety of their workers, for the first time since 1898 and workers no longer being able to rely on an employer’s breach of health and safety law to win a personal injury claim, they would have to provide proof of negligence. Please sign this important petition today
FBU – LOBBY OF THE FIRE AUTHORITY Mon 21 Jan, 2.00pm. The London region of the FBU will lobby of the next Fire Authority meeting on Monday 21 January 2013 at 2.00pm at the London Fire Brigade headquarters at 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL.
GMB link up with European unions on the EU to take firm action to combat SOCIAL DUMPING in the form of pay and employment conditions and social protection. Wed 23rd Jan, Brussels and maybe in the UK? More
Over 100 trade unionists and community campaigners rallied at Motherwell Civic Centre braving freezing rain on December 6th. The rally had been called by North Lanarkshire Unison in response to the brutal £73 million cuts package being imposed by the Labour Council. Some members of Unison dressed as the grim reaper to highlight their cause. There were also campaigners against school cuts and mergers. Protesters gathered at lunchtime and heard a number of speeches from union officials, including one from Mike Kirby, the Scottish Secretary of Unison who raised the prospect of industrial action if there are compulsory redundancies. Loud cheers were heard for RMT activist John Milligan who slammed Labour councilors for not standing up to the government for their communities. NSSN leaflets highlighting the vote of the Scottish Unison Council to back the call for a general strike were taken by workers by the handful to be given to there workmates after the protest.
Where’s the MONEY? “Google boss: I’m proud of our tax avoidance scheme”
National Shop Stewards Network chair, Rob Williams, recently interviewed Dave Smith, a blacklisted construction worker. More
Inn light of recent revelations that South Yorkshire Police fabricated and duplicated statements in relation to Hillsborough and Orgreave, David Hamilton MP and Neil Dindlay, have written to Lothian and Borders Police and justice Minister Kenny McAskill asking for a full and independent review of all cases of Miners arrested in Scotland during the strike. More
Bangladesh/US – The role of Walmart in the factory fire in Bangladesh where over 112 died in a fire.
Egypt: solidarity appeal – Demand the immediate release of Ramy Sabry and all activists. Ramy Sabry, a socialist activist and a fighter for workers’ rights, has been badly tortured and has been held for many hours by Muslim Brotherhood thugs despite his urgent need for medical assistance. Call protests through to the Egyptian Embassy in London: 020 7499 3304 Or you can fax them at: 020 7491 1542
Kazakhstan – On the second attempt, the authorities in Kazakhstan, have jailed Vadim Kuramshin, a well-known campaigner for prisoners’ rights and member of the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan, for 12 years.
Tamil Solidarity to demand the release of students from Jaffna University in the north of Sri Lanka. Their protest represents the first steps to resist the brutal repression that has followed in the aftermath of the genocidal slaughter carried out by the Sri Lankan regime.
Turkey – CWU join condemnation at DHL treatment of Turkish workers.
Petition Against Council Tax Benefit Cuts Presentation to the Council. Tell the council to say no to poll tax mark 2 and not to pass on the coalition cuts to the very poorest in Brighton and Hove. 4:30pm Hove Town Hall.
4 to 7pm. Candlelit vigil as part of the ‘Lewisham Day of Action’ outside Lewisham Hospital. There are also protests outside workplaces and elsewhere.
There will be a meeting of the Scottish Rank and File meeting in John Smith House, Glasgow at 10am. There will be an update from the combine meeting, Southern General and the actions taken over the last few weeks. We will also look to the future and discuss our priorities for next year.
Christmas Anti-Workfare Protest! Meet midday at the Clock Tower by Churchill Square, Brighton. With the workfare programme forcing people to work for free some shops have stopped taking on paid Christmas temps this year. Workfare destroys jobs! This protest will target the workfare offenders!
On the first anniversary of the notorious massacre in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan of unarmed men, women and children by state forces there will be a commemoration on Sunday, THE HORSE HOSPITAL. Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD (2 minutes from Russell Square tube station) Doors open at 2.30pm and close at 6pm.
Justice at Christmas protest for cleaners at 6pm Barbican Centre, Silk St, SE2Y
XMAS CRAIC / DRINK / MUSIC / RAFFLE / CHAT – Construction Safety Campaign / Blacklisted Workers / Crossrail dispute / Justice for Shrewsbury Pickets / BESNA 2 and friends – 7.00PM ONWARDS – 1 STAR CROSS STREET . EXMOUTH ARMS LONDON. NW1. (next to Euston main line station) COME ALONG SATURDAY AND ENJOY YOURSELVES. If you’ve not signed the Shrewsbury pickets online petition. Please share
Five years to the day Steve was laid-off based on the construction employers’ blacklist of trade unionists, show your support for Steve Acheson’s continued protest. Backed by Unite the Union, Rank & File, Blacklist Support Group and trades councils. 7am Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, Widnes
Capita – hands of Barnet Services! 5pm Victoria St, SW1
LOBBY OF THE FIRE AUTHORITY at 2.00pm. The London region of the FBU will lobby of the next Fire Authority meeting – the London Fire Brigade headquarters at 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL.
GMB protest over social dumping in Brussels.
Merseyside County Association of Trades Union Councils (MATUC) is organising a conference to be held at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool on 26 January 2013. The conference will look at organising a general strike in the NW region and the practicalities of organising the strike for regional trade unions and branches, trade union councils and activists for a general strike in 2013.
Facebook main group ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ & ‘Stop the cuts’
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558
Post: NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9D
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A Few messages of support for the Lobby of the TUC earlier this week:
I think the lobby is important to prevent the Tuc burying the decision to consider a one day general strike. Trade Union leaders must not think that this crucial demand will somehow be allowed to wither away and then be quietly killed off. A big rally highlighting the issue will keep it well and truly on the agenda – Steve Hedley RMT Assistant General Secretary
The Manchester Socialist Party branch meeting tonight endorsed the following solidarity message for the NSSN lobby of the TUC general council.
Socialist Party Manchester branch sends solidarity greetings to the NSSN lobby today. The will to fight back against the rotten con-dem government is plainly there amongst the organised working class in both the public and the private sector. The TUC must use this anger in the working class to lead a mass fight back against the endless austerity promised by Osborne and Cameron. The first stage of this must be the putting into practice of motion 5 from the POA and for the general council to begin the preparations for a general strike. The will is there and if the date is named the working class will respond.
In Solidarity, Alex Davidson
Unfortunately our branch is unable to send delegates to support the lobby of the TUC tomorrow morning. However, we are sending the following message of support:
As a Trade Union branch representing thousands of public, community and private sector workers, we are painfully aware that the Government’s austerity measures are simply not working. George Osborne’s Autumn Statement last week means that our local authority will have to find, at the very least, an additional £5 million cuts over the next 2 years in addition to the £36 million cuts already announced. Through job losses, service cuts, a decade-long pay restraint and attacks on pensions, our members are bearing the brunt of the government’s ideological onslaught.
Our branch supports calls for all trade unions to build for a co-ordinated 24-hour strike of public and private sector workers. We believe that austerity cuts must be stopped and that the labour movement has the potential to force a massive U-turn on this coalition government of the rich, if our trade unions were to organise action decisively together. Although this coalition government is vicious and nasty, we must also recognise that it is weak and divided.
So we have this message for the TUC leaders that are meeting today: Get off your knees and name the day for a General Strike. Together we can beat this government and their austerity.
Matt Kilsby, Branch Chair, Bolton UNISON LG Branch
After attack and attack on our class we must fight back and demand a 24hr strike. If we stand for the latest efforts by this government we will stand for the drop of York.
Yours in anticipation.
Ralph Dyson. Jnt Div Sec. Roth NUT.
Please accept our warm wishes on what is likely to be a cold wet lobby of the TUC to demand a 24 hour general strike.
There are hundreds and thousands of trade union activists and members who are with you in spirit, if not able to make it.
The gleeful laughter and revelry that we saw on the Government side last Wednesday as more cuts and austerity was announced is a sharp contrast to the grim reality of millions of ordinary people in Britain having to choose whether to eat or heat their homes this winter.
As the cuts and austerity continues for working people and unemployed people alike, we need our leaders to fight for our class with the same commitment and vigour that the Con-Dems fight for the class of the 1%.
Lincoln & District TUC is proud to offer our unanimous support for your lobby and the campaign for a 24 hour general strike that has been initiated by the National Shop Stewards Network.
The strike action we saw on November 30th last was a real high water mark of the last period and was truly historic. Lincoln, like many other towns and cities, saw its biggest demonstration in a generation.
Just imagine how powerful a message it would send if we had shop-workers and engineers marching side by side with teachers and council workers on strike together. That would truly wipe the smirks off the faces of Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Maude.
Let’s turn the slogan of the trade union movement into a reality, in action as well as words. Unity is strength!
Yours, in solidarity, Nick Parker, Secretary, Lincoln & District TUC
We also received a message of support from former USDAW NEC member Robbie Segal who is very poorly but has been particularly inspired by the brave fight of the Doncaster Tesco drivers.
Other messages of support include ones from Darren Proctor RMT Council of Executives, Andy Cox Unite deputy convenor Southampton Ford, Andy Ford Unite convenor National Blood Services, Shari Holden assistant branch secretary Unite NW63 and many others.
The latest budget statement from George Osborne shows quite clearly that all the government can offer working people, the disabled, the unemployed, students etc is never ending austerity.
Working people however have the ability to stop the government in is tracks by the co-ordinated withdrawal of the labour of those that create the wealth – the working class.
The TUC must hammer the first nail into the ConDem’s coffin by naming the date for a 24 hour general strike
NSSN Steering Committee and Communication Workers Broad Left
It was unanimously agreed tonight that Salford against Cuts sends warm support to the NSSN lobby of the TUC to call a one-day general strike.
Last Saturday many of us, trade unionists and service users, attended an anti-austerity rally in Manchester at which Salford Unison’s Steve North raised the call for a one-day general strike. He was followed by the President of the Bakers’ Union who added ‘we don’t need a ballot, we just need the TUC to name the day.’ Both speakers received huge support. Several members of Salford UNISON were present tonight, mindful that their branch recently endorsed the demand for a one-day general strike. Truly this is an idea whose time has come.
Best wishes for the lobby on Tuesday.
Paul Gerrard Vice Chair Salford against Cuts